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Make sure you choose well this Easter

With the Easter bank holiday fast approaching, the local NHS is urging people to make sure they use the service that can best help them in the quickest time possible.

GP practices will be closed for the four days, so pharmacies, minor injuries units (MIU), and the NHS 111 helpline are the right sources of treatment and information for people under the weather.

People should only attend Torbay Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) department when they have a serious or life-threatening condition.

Dr John Whitehead, clinical lead for urgent care at South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Pharmacists are highly trained and skilled professionals, offering a range of very accessible health services – including medication for common complaints such as fevers, coughs, colds, aches and pains, as well as year-round health issues such as healthy eating, sexual health and giving up smoking.

“They will be really happy to provide advice, and you don’t even need to make an appointment. Ahead of the bank holiday, it’s also useful to stock up your medicines cabinet on remedies you might need.”

The pharmacies open during the Easter bank holiday are here.

MIUs open during the bank holiday (14-17 April) are:
  • Newton Abbot Hospital: 8am-10pm, with x-ray services 9am-5pm
  • Totnes Hospital: 8am-9pm (no x-ray)
  • Dawlish Hospital: 8am-8pm (no x-ray)
  • Paignton Hospital: 8am-5pm on the Friday and Monday only (no x-ray)

Staff at the MIUs will examine all injuries and determine if an x-ray is required. Anyone needing an x-ray will be referred to either Newton Abbot MIU or Torbay Hospital’s ED.

Dr Whitehead warned that bank holidays often put added pressure on urgent NHS services, such as 999 and ED, so he urged people to steer clear of them unless appropriate.

He added: “South Devon and Torbay are often holiday destinations for many people during bank holidays, and with greater numbers of people there are many people attending ED who shouldn’t be there.

“ED’s role is to prioritise and treat patients who have life-threatening illnesses or injuries. People who don’t fall into these categories could hold up the system and waste their own time, because minor ailments can be treated at an MIU or pharmacy.”

Local health services available to people, include:
  • The freephone NHS 111 helpline for urgent medical help or advice, when it’s not a life-threatening situation.
  • Pharmacist/chemist for advice on illnesses and the right medicines.
  • MIUs for treatment of minor illnesses or injuries, without an appointment. Details of MIUs are here.
  • Accident and emergency or 999 – only for critical or life-threatening situations.